About This Exhibition

AfriCOBRA was founded in 1968 in Chicago. The five founding members of AFRICOBRA created an aesthetic philosophy to guide their collective work—a shared visual language for positive revolutionary ideas. The group defined its mission as “an approach to image making which would reflect and project the moods, attitudes, and sensibilities of African Americans independent of the technical and aesthetic strictures of Euro-centric modalities".

Over the years, its base of operation was moved to DC; the group lost members; and new members joined. AfriCOBRA is unique in the art world, as it is an artist collective that has remained intact for more than 40 years.

This exhibition consists of two parts: AfriCOBRA and AfriCOBRA Now. The first section contains work from various AfriCOBRA members who joined in 1968 — when the group was founded in Chicago — to year 2000. AfriCOBRA’s membership changed from the founding participants who exhibited at the Studio Museum in 1970 to a different membership after Jeff Donaldson moved to Washington, DC in 1972. A third wave of membership began in 1979-1980.

AfriCOBRA Now looks at work by the current membership formed after Jeff Donaldson died in 2004. This exhibition reveals the shifting aesthetic of the influential group over their 40-plus year existence.

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Image credits: Nelson Stevens, 2012, Spirit Sister, serigraph, edition of 70, 18" x 18"